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San Jose family restores pedestrian tunnel built in 1928

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There's a pedestrian tunnel dating back to 1928 in one San Jose neighborhood. It's been in disarray for some time, but now one Rose Garden family is on a mission to turn things around. (KGO-TV)

There's a pedestrian tunnel dating back to 1928 in one San Jose neighborhood. It's been in disarray for some time, but now one Rose Garden family is on a mission to turn things around.

In five weeks, a father and daughter team power washed, primed and painted walls and even relocated homeless residents living in the tunnel.

This isn't exactly how most 22-year-olds choose to spend their summer.

"The drain right here was actually backed up with sewage," said Taylor Thomas. "We had to power wash about four times."

But Taylor and her father Dave want to bring back the Hester Underpass.

It was built in 1928, in honor of two students killed while crossing what's now The Alameda. Over the years, it became a scary, dirty, feces and drug-filled place and so the Thomas's did something about it.

"This wasn't hard, it wasn't challenging, it wasn't taking time out of my day. It was merely getting trash bags, a shovel, and a broom and just picking things up to beautify it," said Taylor Thomas, co-founder of Friends of the Tunnel.

One hundred 50 hours and $2,5000 later it was all clean.

"We're going to have giant balloons, giant hearts filling the tunnel," Taylor Thomas said.

The next step is painting a massive mural. People are already coming by to see the improvements.

"It's like coming back to the way I saw it when I was little girl," said Val Zeller, a Rose Garden resident.

Business owners on The Alameda also want change. Many consider the tunnel an eyesore that only attracted problems.

"I think it can become something much better than it is currently," said Nick Hill of Wine Affairs.

The Thomas's are recruiting other residents to help maintain the tunnel. They're also hoping the city will help out too.
Related Topics:
newspedestrian walkwaypedestriansSan Jose
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